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International Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management (IJIEM), Vol. 9 No 1, 2018, pp. 1-16
Available online at www.iim.ftn.uns.ac.rs/ijiem_journal.php
ISSN 2217-2661

UDC 005.1

SMED Methodology Implementation in an Automotive Industry
Using a Case Study Method
Tiago Bidarra
PhD student in Engineering and Industrial Management, Department of Electromechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering / University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal, tttbidara@gmail.com

Radu Godina
CMAST – University of Beira Interior
Engineering and Industrial Management, Department of Electromechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering / University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal, rd@ubi.pt

João C.O. Matias
Department of of Economics, Management, Industrial Engineering and Tourism (DEGEIT)/University of
Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal, jmatias@ua.pt
CMAST – University of Beira Interior

Susana G. Azevedo
CEFAGE - Department of Business and Economics, University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal,
Received (27.10.2017.); Revised (20.12.2017.); Accepted (30.01.2018.)

Nowadays is ever more important to reduce superfluous costs at industrial units. Only through such an
approach the margin of profit could be increased. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the
contribution of the Single-Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) methodology to reduce setup times in the
stamping process of metal components in the automotive industry. A qualitative approach based on a
case study is used to demonstrate this contribution. In this case study the application of the SMED
methodology provides considerable gains in terms of setup time reduction (45%) through a better
reorganization of the work and arrangements. According to the case study the application of the
SMED methodology should be accompanied by a reorganization of work, training and the
implementation of a systematic and effective method of performing of the various operations that are
executed at the enterprise.
Key words: Human Resources, Lean Manufacturing, Setup Time, SMED, Tool Exchange

For many decades mass production contributed for
the competitiveness of many organizations,
particularly in the automotive industry due to its large
scale production. Manufacturers traditionally used
long production runs and large lot sizes in order to
reduce the number of needed setups. However, this
has contributed to a high work-in-progress, lengthy
finished goods inventories and longer lead times.
Meanwhile, in the last four decades this paradigm
has changed dramatically towards a more diversified
production, smaller quantities, with special emphasis
on quality rather than quantity [1], [2]. This was
mainly motivated by the globalization which has
created the need for companies to increase their
production flexibility by producing in smaller batches.
Thus, this type of production leads to a significant

increase on the setup frequency and consequently
the ability to perform quick setup processes [3].
The macroeconomic context has also contributed to
this change of paradigm. In the 1970s a set of
changes such as the oil crisis, the significant fall in
demand and the increased competition caused by
more open markets forced companies to reconsider
their productive models. Moreover, the price of the
products started to be imposed by car manufacturers
and defined by the market which forced companies to
reduce production costs as a way of ensure profit
margins [4], [5].
The change in the behavior of market patterns
contributes to a reduced and more fragmented
demand which requires also more frequent and faster
deliveries. In this context, it is critical to increase the
efficiency of production systems and reduce the
waste in all contexts [6]. That is, the scenario was
perfect to the development of the Lean philosophy.



The Lean Production concept has its origin in the
TPS - Toyota Production System [7] and presents as
main objectives the continuous improvement of
processes and cost reduction through the elimination
of waste [8]. The Lean philosophy is based on five
fundamental principles [9]: (i) create value for the
customer, (ii) identify the value stream, (iii) create
flow, (iv) produce only what is pulled by the customer,
and (v) pursue the perfection by continuous
identification and elimination of waste.
Shingo considers seven types of waste [10]:
overproduction, inventory, waiting, defects, overprocessing, motion and transportation. Lean
Production provides a set of tools and techniques
that can be applied to reduce those wastes, namely
SMED, 5S, Visual Management, Standard Work and
Value Stream Mapping [11].
The success of this philosophy has justified its
application from industrial environments to other
sectors of activities [12], [13].
Today in industrial environment, waste elimination,
such as the idle time, is an important issue since it is
a non-value added activity representing costs and
lack of productivity. At the same time, the
diversification of products and the orders increasingly
smaller leads companies to optimize the setup times
associated to processes and machineries.
Reducing the setup times contributes to a set of
advantages, such as:
decrease the machines
stoppages, decrease the non-added operations,
make feasible the production of smaller lots, reduce
setup scrap, decrease setup labour cost, make
production system flexible; reduce product lead time,
productivity and utilization of assets, and reduce
manufacturing cost [14].
The Single-Minute Exchange of Die methodology
(SMED) emerges in the production system at Toyota
Company and is one of the methodologies integrated
in the Lean Production philosophy that uses a set of
techniques as a way of minimizing setup times,
contributing to reduce idle times and increasing
productivity. The SMED is considered a theory
constituted by a set of techniques that make it
possible to perform the equipment’s setup and
changeover operations in a shorter time [10], [15].
The SMED, which was developed by Shingo [10], is
the main focus of this paper.
This technique is implemented in different contexts
such as the re-engineering of the setup processes as
a way of reducing it. Setups are inevitable whenever
a manufacturing process makes more than a single
product, but they are undesired because they
contribute for increase idle time in production [16]. In
some situations setups can consume high
percentages of the total operating time [17]. Once the
setup processes are analyzed it is possible to
reschedule many tasks as external activities that are
performed while the machine is operating. Also
technical modifications allow some of the remaining
internal tasks to be done externally [18]. The
implementation of the SMED could involve small,
inexpensive and highly target changes to the design

Bidarra et al.

of machines, processes and products [19]. Moreover,
in the SMED technique tasks related to the machine
setup are streamlined to make them faster and more
efficient. Goubergen and Landeghem enhance the
importance of companies reduce setup times as a
way of improving flexibility and bottlenecks capacity
and also minimizing costs [18].
There are several studies that have focused the
SMED methodology in different sectors and with
different purposes. In [20] was studied the application
of the SMED methodology in the mould making
industry to provide an insightful case study
implementation in a SME processing polyurethane
polyether foam with the purpose of highlighting the
gains of productivity. In [21] was discussed the
practical application of the SMED within a textile
processing operation. The prerequisite requirements
for successful SMED application are presented and
discussed in their paper. In [22] the SMED
methodology to reduce or eliminate the small stop
time loss was used. An unified approach to aid the
process engineers during the third step of the
implementation of SMED is proposed in [23].
In [24] the focus is on the significance of quick
changeovers in die-casting foundry environments. In
this paper the authors demonstrate the practical
application of the SMED showing how it can bring
real breakthroughs in productivity to small and
medium scale foundries. Moreover, it is suggested
the application of other methodologies such as 5S,
Poke-Yoke and specific tool-kits to further reduce
setup times.
While most of the studies on SMED methodology
focus on costs and productivity of equipment’s and
machines as the main benefits of its implementation,
in our paper the human resources through a
reorganization of work, training and implementation
of a systematic and effective method of performing
the various operations are highlighted as the main
driver of productivity improvement and cost savings
in using the SMED methodology. Being so, the main
objective of this paper is to demonstrate the
contribution of the SMED methodology to reduce
setup times and consequently increase the human
resources productivity in the stamping process of a
producing plant in metal components and belonging
to an industrial group in the automotive industry.
The paper is organized as follows. In the introduction,
a background was performed to introduce the reader
into the topic of the paper. Then, the methodology is
shown to demonstrate the influence of the SMED on
the setup times through a pilot project. After this, a
case study on the automotive industry is described,
and some considerations about the results are

In this paper the case study methodology was
chosen since provides the ability to investigate
contemporary phenomenon within a real-life context
[25]. One of the main advantages of case study is


Bidarra et al.

that it makes possible to determine the link between
cause and effect [26]. This is important in this
research, as the aim is to demonstrate the
contribution of the SMED methodology (cause) to
reduce setup times (effect) in the stamping process
of a production unit in metal components and
belonging to an industrial group in the automotive
The “planned opportunism” [27] was used as a
rationale for the case study selection: the selected
case study is located near the researchers’ place of
This methodology makes possible to answer the
following research questions:
 Does the reorganization of the workplace with the
SMED methodology contributes for the improvement
of the setup times?
 What benefits does the firm obtain with the
application of the SMED methodology?
Regarding data collection Forza [28] argues that data
can be collected in a variety of ways, in different
settings and from different sources. In a case study
research in [25] is suggested that evidences may
come from six main sources: documents, archival
records, interviews (semi-structured, structured or
participantobservation, and physical artifacts. Other sources of
data can include informal conversations, attendance
at meetings and events, surveys administered within
the organization [26], films, photographs, and
videotapes [25]. In this study, data collection was
carried out through semi-structured interviews and
secondary data.
 The researched industrial unit is implementing new
projects and facing an increase in orders for the
coming years. This context is pressing the firm to
increase internal productivity through an optimization
of setup performance in the existing equipment. In
this attempt the Lean technique known as SMED is
suggested to optimize the setup times and to improve
the competitiveness of companies in the current and
future production context [29].

This section illustrates the implementation of SMED
methodology in an industrial unit belonging to a
Portuguese industrial group in the automotive sector.
The influence of SMED on the setup times it is
thoroughly analyzed.

3.1 Case study profile
The case study company belongs to an international
Portuguese automotive industrial group founded in
the 1980s with a growing expansion in Europe, Asia,
and North and South America. Its presence
worldwide accounts for a group of approximately 30
business units. The company has 80 employees and
its core business is the production of metallic
components for the automotive industry.
Regarding the production it shoes that it has quite an
extensive portfolio of clients. The unit supplies

stamped metal parts, sub-sets, soldered sets,
chassis and more recently precision parts to the main
Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) in the
The firm has a diversified production of around 80
different products in the metal components. The area of
production is about 7000 m2 with an average of 80% of
the firm’s production references being metal parts
pressed on cold metal sheet, which is equipped with a
pressing area ranging from 30 Tons to 630 Tons.
In terms of organization’s philosophy the firm gives
first priority to the safety of its employees, targeting a
goal of zero accidents per year. Being a supplier of
the main OEMs in the automotive market it is certified
by ISO/TS 16949:2002 and ISO 14001:2004. ISO/TS
16949 is a technical specification which aims to
indicate the specific requirements of ISO-9001:2000
for the automotive industry. Together with ISO9001:2000 it specifies the requirements for a quality
management system where a firm needs to
demonstrate its ability to consistently provide product
that meets customer and applicable regulatory
requirements. This certification allows the company
to fit its Quality system with the OEM's system [30].
The ISO 14001 is an internationally agreed standard
that sets out the requirements for an environmental
management system. It helps firms improve their
environmental performance through more e efficient
use of resources and reduction of waste [31]. It
allows establishing an effective Environmental
commitment of the organizations to create a balance
between profitability maintenance and environmental
The headquarters of the industrial unit has already an
enlightened view of the Lean Manufacturing (LM)
philosophy and the corresponding practices. To be
more competitive in a highly demanding market, the
various units are encouraged to implement LM
concepts and tries to share with them a high degree
of commitment and incentive. An example of this is
the integration of various objectives such as carrying
out annually a set of Kaizen events in each unit and
practicing the 5S.
The research factory is one among many that share
this organizational culture focused on consistent
integration of Lean Manufacturing with a mediumlong term perspective.

3.2 SMED methodology implementation
In the studied period the production plant was facing
a decrease in the production as a result of the end of
some projects which were making the client portfolio
becoming smaller and sales volume declining.
However, the integration of new projects is also being
developed contributing by this way to increase the
quantity and volume of orders. In this context, the
production plant need to implement new practices to
increase the efficiency and productivity associated to
the production processes in order to improve
customers’ satisfaction.


Bidarra et al.

The firm realized the necessity of implementing the
SMED methodology as a way of increasing the
productivity of several production processes.
The adoption of the SMED methodology intends to make
setup processes more agile in the stamping sector and
increase the availability of the equipment [32].
In order to meet the targets of the unit, the
management created a project divided into several
stages and supported by a pilot phase, which
depending on its results would determine the
following steps in implementing this methodology.
This case study shows the evolution of the different
steps performed in the pilot project. The Figure 1
illustrates the steps involved in the SMED project
which is quite similar to the ones adopted in [33].
The machine chosen for the pilot project was the
Press 4. This machine was chosen not only because
this is the stamping equipment with the greatest
number of monthly setups in the studied unit, but it is
also responsible for the production of the reference
accounting for the greatest income.

Equipement and/or
Product Selection

Definition of the setup

Team work definition

SMED methodology

Was the expected reduction
in setup times reached?


Initially, the project team held some training on Lean
Manufacturing, with particular emphasis on the
SMED methodology. The team had prepared the
implementation plan attending to the work that should
be performed during the next months. The plan is
illustrated in Figure 2.
The plant where the project was implemented has a
stamping press area formed by a set of four main
machines. Another set of six stamping machines is
placed outside this main area, producing references in
very small batches and not considered in the scope of
this project which is the medium-term. The press units in
the main area stamp alloy steel on cold metal sheet. The
main stamping area operates in two daily shifts and is
supported by the tooling and maintenance department,
responsible for preventive and corrective maintenance of
all equipment and tools.
Each shift employs four press operators and a team
leader – responsible for the process supervision by
providing the operators with support, supplying the
documents in order to monitor the production,
preparing for the setups and carrying out duties in the
area of the quality.
Figure 3 represents part of the layout of the plant where
the project was implemented. It shows the stamping
area, the tool store area and the maintenance and tool
department. The stamping area has a set of four main
presses. Another six stamping machines are located
outside this main area and are spread around the plant.
The tooling store is in the same part of the maintenance
and tools area, and the distance between press 4 and
this department is around 40 meters.

The average setup times in the months leading up to
the implementation of the project were registered in
order to create a past record of the stamping process.

Standardization of the
setup processes

Periodic monitoring of
processes and results

Was the expected reduction
in setup times reached?

3.2.1 The Project of the team

3.2.2 Data collection about previous setups



placement; 2 Press and 4 operators (1st and 2nd
shift); 2 Stamping team leaders (1st and 2nd shift).
The time limit for implementing and presenting the
results of the pilot project was two months and the
whole improvement process was to be implemented
without any financial investment.

Illustration of the
stamping process
and layout

Data collection of
previous setups

Diagnosis of Setups
in Press #4

Result collection and

SMED methodology


Figure 1. Steps for the implementation of a SMED project
and adapted from [33].

The management of the unit had defined the
objective of reducing the setup times between 35%
and 40% at the beginning of the project. The team
work was made up of the following elements: 1
Process engineer; 1 Process engineers on work

Figure 2. Phases of the SMED project implementation.

The data were collected from the Operations
Department and the records of the Enterprise
Resource Planning (ERP) system of the firm.
Table 1 shows that the setup times for the several
presses are quite similar, which could be evidence


Bidarra et al.

of the previous attempts to apply the SMED
methodology to the process.
The average setup times for the stamping process
are around 39 minutes, however considering the
press 4, which integrates the pilot project of the
SMED implementation, the average time was 40
minutes, as illustrated in the Figure 4.
According to the manager of the research firm it
would be necessary to reduce the setup times for
press 4 to an average of 25 minutes, in order to
improve the productivity of the stamping process
and improve the results for the pilot project.

During the first month of the project implementation
all the processes of the changing references in
press 4 were monitored by the team leader and the
press operators during their respective shifts.
The process engineer collected all the data
carefully in order to perform a correct diagnosis.
The survey was made in a context of a normal
production and also in occasional occurrences
arranged with the SMED team in order to make the
reference changes outside the production
timetable. Such a data collection is summarized in
Figure 5.

3.2.3 Diagnosis of the initial setup process for
press 4

Figure 3. The layout of the stamping zone.


Bidarra et al.

Table 1. Average setup time and frequency during the last eight months before the project.
Press 1
Press 2
Press 3
Press 4


Month Month


Month Month



Average setup time (min)
Nº of setup's
Average setup time (min)
Nº of setups
Average setup time (min)
Nº of setup's
Average setup time (min)
Nº of setups









Average setup time (min)
Nº of setups









Figure 4. Average setup times for the studied Press 4.

Figure 5. Setup times of the Press 4 during the first month of the implementation of the SMED Project.





Bidarra et al.

The differences between setup times was found not
to be representative and the sequence of entry and
exit references did not have a significant impact on
the results. This is due to the several tools having
many similar characteristics and also to the change
processes which does not require very different
Based on the analysis made on the setup processes
during the first month it was possible to identify the
following two main time consuming activities: 1) to
insert a new tool, 2) to remove a previous tool.
Besides being too slow, these activities implied the
displacement of tools throughout the factory with the
stoppage of the machine.
All the tasks associated to the change of reference in
press 4 were recorded, as can be seen in Table 2.
The survey covered all the steps involved in the
setup, the preparatory tasks and the post-setup
stage, for all the production references allocated to
this machine. In addition, considering that the
process always involved the team leader and the
press operator, the tasks performed by each one at
each moment and the respective average times were
It should be noted that the allocation of tasks
between the operator and the team leader did not
follow a fixed pattern at the date of starting the
project. Within the SMED team there was a
commitment to establish a pattern in this task
allocation by using the list created as a guide model
in order to obtain a more stable process as
improvements were implemented.
From the point of view of the SMED methodology this
moment corresponds to the preliminary stage where
there is no division between internal and external
work. Indeed, in this phase the different tasks were
classified as internal or external according to the
need to carry them out with the idle equipment or not.
Figure 6 illustrates the processing of external work
tasks with the equipment stopped.
There is a clear desynchronization of activities
between the two elements, resulting from the lack of
a well-thought out implemented system and work
method. Figure 6 illustrates the work time of each
element. This scheme intends to demonstrate the
time spent by each element and the associated

stoppages. The different moments associated to the
beginning and finishing work by the team leader and
operator are shown in Figure 6.
The most obvious short-coming at this moment was
the existence of long waiting time during the process.
The total time to change references was, in average,
51 minutes of which 45 minutes corresponds to the
setup time. The operator presented a long time
waiting period of around 15 minutes while the team
leader presented two periods of waiting.
The main reasons given by the operators and the
team leader for the inefficiencies occurred in the
preliminary stage are: a) execution of external tasks
during the setup, including the preparation of raw
material, movement of tools, utensils and containers,
and quality control of the last exiting production
pieces; b) time lags between the operator and the
team leader to perform tasks jointly which originates
a waiting time. The sequence of tasks is not balanced
giving rise to bottlenecks.

3.2.4 Application of SMED methodology on Press 4
From the problems identified in the preliminary stage,
the team set out to apply the SMED methodology in
order to achieve the desired goals. The application of
the method focused essentially on stages 1 and 2.
Stage 1: Separation of internal and external
Some of the tasks performed by the operator in the
initial stage were transferred to the team leader. This
represents external work having an impact on internal
tasks performed by the operator. This separation of
external and internal work allowed the operator to
focus on effective setup tasks, leaving the others to
the team leader. At the same time, other internal
setup tasks carried out by the operator were
transferred to the team leader as a way of shortening
the idle time of the equipment and turning more
productive the waiting time of the team leader.
The period of setup preparation for this element had to
be redefined, as demonstrated in Table 3, contributing
for increasing the number of tasks performed in this
phase. This contributes to increase the availability of
the leader to receive new tasks and help in others.

Figure 6. Working and setup time of operator and team leader during the process of changing references.



Bidarra et al.

Table 2. Tasks and corresponding schedule at the beginning of the SMED implementation project. Where E means an External
Task and I means an Internal Task.
t (sec) t (sec)
Team Leader
Determine the next production reference
Print the monitoring reports
Prepare control means for producing (DMM and
control planes)
Bring the kit to change along the press
Stop the press
Seek for Bridge with the new roll
Open security doors
Unwrap new roll
Wake lubrication support band
Fasten new roll
Remove grease support and load the
Take new roll for the car
change kit
Remove the last piece and put on the
Loosen new roll
control bench
Control the last piece of the previous
Cut longitudinal strap
Records number of pieces of the previous
Remove part of the exit gutter
Put output trough in the warehouse and
bring new
Clean scrap
246 N/A Waiting
Remove band cut and put in the parts
output table
Close the security doors
To Download the press
Open security doors
Unscrew front of the tool and remove gutter
Unscrew the back of the tool and remove the
To up press
Pack gutter in warehouse and bring new
Extract table
Search the bridge to the table
250 N/A Waiting
Arrest tool
Table of cleaning and positioners
Tool movement to the warehouse
Loosen previous tool and arrest the next tool
Transporting the new tool for the press
Put tool on the table
Push forward the new tool and fit gutter
Tighten back the new tool and fit gutter
Put on the press table
Positioning the new car roll
Programming parameters (blow, step and
Loosen and remove strap hooks to the floor
reset counter)
To Download the press
Unwind plate to the feeder
Lift the press
Put new output gutter
Remove previous piece counter and take
Seek and position of the new piece container
the whip
Put the sheet on the tool
Connecting the oil
Cutting waste of sheet
Lubricate the band
Setting step
Remove Bridge workspace
Control the first piece
Tidy up pallet trucks
Register control of the first piece
Change Tidy kit

Setup Preparation–
Team leader

Table 3. Overloaded of the team leader before the stoppage of the machine for the setup.
Preliminary stage
Determine the next production reference
Printing monitory reports
Prepare control means
Bring the change kit near the press


Stage 1
Determine next production reference
Printing monitory reports
Prepare control means
Bring the change kit near the press
Bring the container of the new piece near the press
Bring the bridge near to the new roll
Unwrap the new roll
Hold the new roll
Bring a new roll to the car
Loosen new roll
Cut the longitudinal strap




Bidarra et al.

Table 4. Changes in the activities performed by the operator and the team leader between preliminary stage and stage 1.

It can also be observed that the second waiting time
of the leader occurs while the operator fetches the
crane and secures the tool alone. The reorganization
of work and task transfer are performed in the
following way:
 Tasks A and C became part of the team leader’s
duties, occupying part of his waiting time.
 Tasks highlighted with the letter B were still allocated
to the operator but were now performed in the
post-setup period.
 Task D was placed in the leader’s 2nd waiting
 Task E was divided between the two elements,
reducing the time necessary for its execution, and
fitting the half corresponding to the team leader in
his 2nd waiting period.

The task of removing the container of the previous
reference of the process and subsequent transport to
the work in process (WIP) was redefined. The
operator is no longer responsible for handling
containers and the team leader now brings the new
container in the setup preparation stage, ensuring it
is ready for immediate installation.
In this way, during the setup stage it only becomes
necessary to switch the exiting container and position
the entry container, resulting in the consumption of
90 seconds within the setup, compared to the 180
seconds necessary before the improvement.
With the improvements reached from the preliminary
stage to stage 1 it was possible to reduce the setup
time from 45 minutes to 35 minutes. The total work
time of the team leader did not increase with the



Bidarra et al.

additional tasks and it was even reduced, confirming
that his time was indeed optimized. The separation
between internal and external tasks always involves
the operator as the central element because he is the
one who performs the greatest number of internal
tasks while the team leader being only an auxiliary
element. Therefore, separating internal and external
work does not mean that all internal tasks will be
performed outside the idle time. It means that almost
all of the tasks should be removed from the internal
work time of the operator and assigned to the work
time of his auxiliary. Indeed, the stoppage time
decreased as the operator has fewer internal tasks to
perform. But this did not happen because the other
tasks were allocated exclusively to the preparation or
post-setup stage.
Table 5 shows the time difference associated to the
change of reference between the preliminary stage
and stage 1 with a notable reduction in setup time.
Stage 2: Converting internal into external tasks:
According to the analysis of the initial stage the
greatest setup time consumption occurs in removing
and inserting tools period. This process managed by
the team leader implied movement of tools while the
machine was idle, thus causing long waiting times for
the operator. This stage focused on the set of activities
associated to the greater time consumption.
The logistics of tools, which formed part of internal
work was redefined, thus creating intermediate
support near press 4. Therefore, the entry tool was
then brought to the location in the pre-setup stage,
ready for an immediate change. The intermediate

support served to receive the exiting tool, which was
then transported to the store once the setup was
Compared to the initial state when the tools covered
a distance of 40 meters in internal time, after the
performed change, the distance during the setup
became only 2 meters. The tool-changing process
took 26 minutes, as opposed to 14 minutes after
implementing this improvement. Table 6 illustrates
the changes performed in the tasks from stage 1 to
stage 2.
Indeed, task B of moving the tool to the store ceased
to be performed as an internal task. Instead, the
exiting tool came to be installed in the intermediate
support saving 316 seconds compared to the
previous stage. In turn, task C of loosening the
exiting tool came to be performed by the two
elements in parallel. This was possible because the
task was performed in the press area, which did not
happen before when only the team leader went to the
store to deposit the tool.
Task B no longer made sense, since the crane now
remained next to the press from the moment the
entry tool was brought in the pre-setup stage. In fact,
the elimination of this task left a gap in the work
sequence of the team leader.
Table 5. Time evolution in the preliminary stage and the stage 1.
Pre - setup
Post - setup
Total Time

Preliminary stage
5 min
45 min
2 min
52 min

Stage 1
9 min
35 min
4 min
48 min

Table 6. Changes in the activities performed by the operator and the team leader between the stage 1 and 2.



Bidarra et a.l

Setup Preparation – Team leader

Table 7. Changes in the tasks of setup preparation between the stage 1 and stage 2.
BEFORE – Stage 1
AFTER - Stage 2
Determine the next production reference
Determine next production reference
Printing monitory reports
Printing monitory reports
Prepare control means
Prepare control means
Bring the change kit near the press
Bring the change kit near the press
Bring the container of the new piece near the
Bring the container of the new piece near
the press
Bring the bridge near the new roll
Bring the bridge near the new roll
Unwrap the new roll
Unwrap the new roll
Hold new roll
Hold new roll
Bring new roll to the car
Bring new roll to the car
Loosen new roll
Loosen new roll
Cut longitudinal strap


Cut longitudinal strap


Transport the new tool to the bracket

Figure 7. Improvements between stage 1 and 2.




Bidarra et a.l

Stage 3: Optimizing all setup activities
The work regarding this stage was divided in three
fundamental activities: (1) optimizing tasks through
technical solutions; (2) optimizing the method by
reorganizing the task sequence; (3) standardizing
operations of reference change.
Cleaning the press table is a task performed by the
operator and consists of removing scrap metal
remains and other strange materials trapped in the
grooves. The process was performed with a metal
stick passing along the grooves and removing the
scrap. A simple new cleaning tool was developed,

thus achieving an effective gain in the time required
for this internal operation. This improvement is
illustrated in Figure 8.
The cleaning and removal of scrap metal was
developed for the operator but this activity is
suggested to be divided with the team leader. By
making that division the waiting time still remains in
the sequence of the team leader, closing the gap that
had been transferred from stage 2. Table 8
demonstrates the aforementioned process.

Figure 8. Technical solution allowing to optimize the table clean-up operation.

Table 8. Elimination of the stoppage of the team leader by the split of tasks and the schedule reorganization.



Bidarra et al.


demonstrate the gains in the productivity and
reducing the lead times.

This improvement could already have been
contemplated in previous phases, but as it is a
continuous process all the improvements already
reached should be critically overlooked. Indeed, it
became clear that in order to eliminate the waiting
time of the operator, it was enough to fit into this
inactive period the planned parameters of the
machine. This activity should be performed in internal
work, but there is no technical limitation to be done
after inserting the tool of the new reference. Table 9
demonstrates the change in the moment that this
activity is performed in the sequence of the operator’s
tasks, between the stages 2 and 3.
Finally, and observing the summary in the diagram in
Figure 9, a reduction in setup time from 23 minutes to
20 minutes is obtained and the waiting time
motivated by the inactivity of the operator is
successfully eliminated. The possible improvements
were made in the available useful time, regarding the
three stages of the SMED methodology, and in doing
so, the targets defined by management were reached
and exceeded.
The total working time was not noticeably reduced,
the reduction being from 52 minutes at the beginning
of the project to 48minutes at the end. Yet, most of
the time when the machinery was stopped it was
reduced greatly from 45 minutes to 20 minutes.
This outcome was very important to demonstrate that
SMED provides notable gains in the method and
arranging stages. In this sense, it was possible to

3.2.6 Standardizing operations of reference

3.2.5 Changing the sequence
programming parameter activity


This pilot project demonstrated that over the three
stages of SMED methodology there were tasks that
from their theoretical definition would be applicable in
different stages. This is the case of different
individual tasks performed in parallel.
Once the desired level of improvement was reached
it is necessary to maintain the obtained results. One
of the most important factors for the methodology and
its results is the continuous and systematic
monitoring of the process.
At the end of the pilot project, the SMED team
structured an operational method resulting from the
successive development of the reference change
procedure throughout the application of the
The definition of a standardized operational method
is fundamental to monitor and help operators in
developing this procedure. It serves as a training for
new operators.
The operational method should contain the sequence
of tasks to be performed, the operator assigned, the
time defined for carrying them out and the auxiliary
tools necessary.
It should also separate tasks to be performed inside
the setup time from those that are part of the
preparation stage and the subsequent stage,
becoming a useful tool in both preparation and
execution of the setup.

Table 9 – Reorganization of the tasks schedule.



Bidarra et al.

Figure 9. Improvements reached across all stages.

This study provided a deeper knowledge about the
implementation of the SMED method through the
pilot project produced relevant results, considering
the objectives drawn up by management for the work
team. Indeed, it was possible to achieve a greater
reduction in setup times.
However, considering the state-of-the-art of SMED
methodology, it is necessary to take into account

some important factors in order to have a broader
view of the obtained results.
Firstly, it should be highlighted that as the firm was
already familiar with the Lean philosophy it
demonstrated again an understanding of the potential
of the methodologies and associated tools, as well as
the improvement that can be reached by employing
them without requiring an additional investment.
The SMED methodology is divided into various
stages. Its application on the shop floor should
respect the separation of internal and external work,



Bidarra et al.

thus converting internal work in external and
improving all activities.
This pilot project demonstrated that over the three
stages of SMED methodology there were tasks that
from their theoretical definition would be applicable in
different stages. This is the case of different
individual tasks performed in parallel.
The whole SMED project was developed without
considering re-engineering and/or acquisition of new
equipment. Therefore, the set of factors associated to
the optimization of the equipment design for
reference change was not applicable on the shop
floor. Indeed, this application of the methodology was
based on reorganization of work, training and
implementation of a systematic and effective method
of performing the various operations. It was thereby
confirmed that SMED provides notable gains in the
method and organization components, and the
improvements obtained were in the order of 45%
reduction in setup time.
The company needed to increase the productivity of
its whole system and integrate the SMED
methodology without benefiting from the whole set of
advantages that can arise from its implementation,
namely, reducing batches, raising quality, increasing
the frequency of setups and reducing lead times.
The SMED project focused only on reducing setup
times and did not contemplate the application of the
improvements to reduce preparation times and the
post-setup period. This was because in the shop floor
the focus is on the time the machine is stopped and
its optimization.
By definition, the setup corresponds to the time the
machine is idle between the last part of the previous
reference and the first quality part of the entering
reference. In this study, validating the quality of the
first quality part was placed in external work.
Certainly, this may give rise to various criticisms
regarding the rigorous definition of the setup concept.
From the definition of setup, production would only
start after the validated part. Such a strategy would
only make sense if there was a high probability of the
first part not being of quality. It was decided to keep
the production batch while validation of the first
“suspect” part was performed.
For the upcoming improvements, the continuous
monitoring of setup activities in press 4 is necessary,
so that the implementation of best practices stills over
time. The operational method was defined but it is
necessary to respect its importance in the future.
It will be important for the company to define a
monitoring strategy, determining a group of people in
charge of this task to consolidate all the work done in
the pilot project and make the SMED results
sustainable. The implementation of SMED within this
company opened up several opportunities for new
improvements, perhaps even for new jobs in the
future. Planning may lead to re-dimensioning of
batches, which will be distributed over a greater
number of machines, contributing to increase
production flexibility and making possible the
implementation of a Just-In-Time production system.

The authors are pleased to acknowledge financial
support from Portuguese Foundation for Science and
Technologies (FCT) and FEDER/COMPETE (CMAST (n. 151) and grant UID/ECO/04007/2013).



















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Implementacija SMED metodologije u automobilskoj industriji
koristeći metod studije slučaja
Tiago Bidarra, Radu Godina, João C.O. Matias, Susana G. Azevedo
Primljen (27.10.2017.); Recenziran (20.12.2017.); Prihvaćen (30.01.2018.)

U današnje vreme, veoma je važno smanjenje suvišnih troškova u industrijskim jedinicama. Samo
putem takvog pristupa profitna marža bi se mogla povećati. Cilj ovog rada je da pokaže doprinos
metodologije brze izmene alata (SMED) kako bi se smanjilo vreme podešavanja u procesu štampe
metalnih komponenti u automobilskoj industriji. Za demonstriranje ovog doprinosa koristi se kvalitativni
pristup zasnovan na studiji slučaja. U ovoj studiji slučaja primena SMED metodologije daje značajan
doprinos u smislu smanjenja vremena podešavanja (45%) kroz bolju reorganizaciju procesa rada.
Prema studiji slučaja primena SMED metodologije treba da se sprovodi simultano uz reorganizaciju
procesa rada, izvođenje obuka i implementaciju sistematskog i efikasnog načina obavljanja različitih
operacija koje se obavljaju u posmatranom preduzeću.
Ključne reči: Ljudski resursi, Lean proizvodnja, pripremno vreme, SMED, izmena alata


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